To All Incoming Freshmen, When You Get To College, Please Don't Be THAT Freshman

To All Incoming Freshmen, When You Get To College, Please Don't Be THAT Freshman

I am pretty sure we all know who I'm talking about.

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As we are all counting down the days to return to campus, students are looking forward to meeting new people and reuniting with old friends. And then, there is the freshman.

We have all been there. The eagerness and excitement have been slowly building up through months of summer vacation, all waiting for this moment. I understand the anxiousness, enthusiasm, and insecurities. The opportunity to meet new people and explore a new area is very intriguing. But let's be real, you are here to make memories and get an education. So here are a few pieces of advice from a former college freshman.

1. Don't be that freshman who follows their significant other to college

This is the boy or girl who simply can not think for themselves. The 17-year-old puts their own personal goals and interests aside to sacrifice for a six-month high school relationship. This will more than likely end at an end of semester transfer after the relationship has been tested for a month or two in college life. So if you want to really enjoy your freshman year, make your own decisions and do what is best for you.

2. Don't be that freshman who lets their parents pick their major

"You are not going to school just to waste my money."

This is a statement you might have heard from your parents. As true as it might seem, this is definitely not a good way to start your college years. If you are not majoring in something you can see yourself doing, you are wasting your time. You can major in biology, go to medical school, and make the best grades. But if deep down you don't want to be a doctor, you will NOT end up being a good doctor. When it comes to picking your major, you really have to follow your heart.

3. Don't be that freshman who gets overwhelmed with the first taste of freedom

Yes. It is all very exciting. You don't have a curfew, you don't have rules, you don't have anyone constantly nagging you, but let's not get carried away. Don't be the freshman who gets a tattoo on the first night of living on your own. Don't be the freshman who tries to drink every liquor behind the bar. Don't be the freshman who gets caught up being someone that they aren't. My best advice would be to take things slow.

4. Don't be that freshman who starts school isolated in a relationship

I'm not telling you not to date anyone during your freshman year. I am saying to not cut yourself off from the rest of the world while you date someone. Your first year on campus is such an amazing opportunity to meet people, but people are constantly eager to start dating someone and then only spend time with that person.

Be the freshman who can manage time between friends and relationships.

5. Don't be that freshman who can't handle things on their own

It is your first year on your own. Yes, you still need help from your parents. But at this point, they should not be ordering your textbooks or buying your parking pass. If you need something for a club or for class, YOU should handle it. If you're having roommate problems, YOU should handle it, not your parents. This is the real world and college is a great time for you to start building up to be the person you want to be in the future, but you can't successfully do that if your parents still deal with every minor inconvenience for you.

6. Don't be that freshman who only talks to their high school friends

I know your high school was probably amazing, and you probably had the coolest people go there. However, I believe that college is a great time to be on your own and experience new things. Meeting new people and going to new places will allow you to grow into a more mature person. There is a way to balance meeting new friends and maintaining friendships with childhood friends, and I am sure you will find that balance.

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An Open Pat On The Back To Full-Time Students Who Also Work

You really deserve an award, but this article will have to do.
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It's pretty freaking hard.

“I can work nights and weekends, I'm a student," you told the manager during your interview.

So, what does he do? He schedules you most nights and weekends. This is OK. This is, after all, what you asked for. So you start working.

Class, class, work. Class, work. Class, no work tonight, you sleep and it feels like the first time in years. Class, homework, homework, homework. Class, class, work.

Before you know it, it's the weekend. There's a party. Your friend wants to see you. Your mom is calling you to see how you are.

But you are working all weekend.

You call your mom on your half hour break. She tells you are doing too much. She tells you that you should work less. Ask for less hours. Sleep more. Eat more. You will get sick.

You get out of work Friday night around 11 p.m. There is still so much night left!! You try to hit up that party. Sure, you will show up a little late, but at least you will make an appearance. At least you will get to see some of your friends. At least you will be able to relax and enjoy yourself. At least you will be able to have some fun. By the time you get ready and get there, people begin leaving. You begin to wonder why you came out in the first place.

“I'm sorry, I've been at work" becomes an all-too-familiar phrase.

But, but, but.

You really deserve a pat on the back, so here it is.

You've given up a lot. And you work crazy hard. Those long nights and hours are hard. A lot of kids your age don't work and rely solely on your parents. But you, you have taken it upon yourself to earn some money for yourself. You are a full-time student, and most of your free time goes toward working and supporting yourself.

You truly do not get the appreciation that you deserve.

But when you do get some time to go out, when you request a weekend off, you have some money to spend. You are never the guy who can't go out because they don't have enough money.

And of course, you will start saving. This is huge. You're going to graduate in debt (probably), and because you busted your butt during school and saved up, putting a crack in that debt will be a little easier for you.

You are a forward thinker, whether you realize it or not.

You are building responsibility, money management, and self-reliance skills, whether you realize it or not.

You are quite mature for your age, whether you realize it or not.

AND YOU deserve a pat on the back. So here it is.

You're incredible. You're amazing. Go get 'em.

Seriously, take a second to congratulate yourself for all your hard work.

And whatever you do, get some sleep, kid. And remember, don't work yourself too hard. Just hard enough so that you feel good, and rewarded, and happy.

You're the man. Keep killin' it, dude. Keep killin' it.

Cover Image Credit: Peter Bernik/123rf Stock Photo

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I Learned So Much In My First College Semester, Including That No College Experience Is The Same

I could write a book from everything I've learned in the past six months.

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I just have to point out that in true college fashion, this semester in review, if you will, is coming to you a grand month into the new semester. If that isn't the epitome of college, I'm not sure what is.

The first and perhaps the most important thing that the beginning of college has taught me is that you have to let go of expectations. There are a million different stories and opinions coming at you your senior year of high school about what college is like and what you should do once you get there. But the truth is, everyone is different. There is no quintessential college experience because no college lifestyle is superior to any other one.

There are some people who go to every single school spirit/ sporting event that the school has to offer and there are others (like me) who are content with attending a couple games a season and enjoying their Saturday afternoons not melting into the stands of McLane stadium during Waco's stupidly hot fall.

But the point is, you do you. And honestly, it might take you a while to figure out what kind of life you want to have in college. Maybe it requires a few all-nighters and poor choices before you decide the things you like, the crowd you want to run in, and what you want to make of your college years.

And speaking of running in crowds, I present to you: friends. They're probably one of the most challenging parts of college. Now your first semester is really designed to get you socializing and making new friends, but you're making them in a way that you never did when you were younger. College requires you to reach out, to push yourself, and to get out of your comfort zone. And having friends doesn't mean you'll spend 24/7 with them. In college, everyone has different priorities which mean you may only get to hang out with certain friends once or twice a week. That doesn't make those friendships invalid, it's just a sign that you're growing up and having less time and more responsibility.

I've always known that being a good friend is important, but college has taught me that it's one of the most important roles you can play in someone's life. College is a time when you're moving away from home, turning a leaf, and trying things out for yourself. It can be lonely, confusing, exhausting, exhilarating. The one thing everyone needs is a friend. People will try to tell you that college is about dating or finding your person or ring by spring but really it's about friends, so do your best to be a good one.

Now there's also the cliche advice about not taking 8 a.m. classes, eating pizza every day in the dining hall, or partying on a Thursday night when you have class in the morning, but all of that stuff seems rather obvious.

If there was one thing I could go back and tell myself about the beginning it would be to relax and let the kinks work themselves out. Nothing is going to be the way you expected and that's ok. Have fun, work hard, and be kind, that's really all you need to know.

Love,

Lilly

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